Hg2 : The Hedonist

A Hedonist’s guide to…

Madrid

19 Sushi Bar
Despite its location, Madrid abounds in excellent fish, and 19 Sushi Bar is no exception. In addition, this stylish restaurant is just minutes from the bustle of Gran Vìa...
Acquafredda
Owned by Madrid's principal Italian restaurateur, Ignazi Deias, Acquafredda is a 'multiespacios' which offers the chance for both eat-in, take-away, and plain-and-simple pleasurable browsing. Bookings are a must at dinner.
Al Norte
A mouthwatering a la carte menu celebrates Northern Spanish cuisine with flair - there is even a romantic menu for couples and highbrow debating sessions known as ‰ÛÏtertulias‰Û on Monday nights.
Botin
Typical Castillian food includes gazpacho, suckling pig and a delicious cream tart made with a sweet biscuit base, egg meringue and pastel cream.
Brasserie de Lista
Popular with business people at lunch time and more intimate for evening pintxos, this bistro's specials are grilled meats and oven-roasted fish, with a good selection of wines and beers to accompany both meat and fish. French slant.
Café Oliver
Cafe Oliver serves straight Italian, Moroccan, French and Spanish dishes without being too experimental and losing simple flavours. Main courses offer juicy entrecote steaks with Sant Marceliny sauce and a selection of wholesome salads.
Casa Carola
For those in search of traditional Madrileno cocido"
Casa Lucio
Casa Lucio has garnered a reputation for outstanding Spanish cuisine - even prompting the poet Rabal to pen a ditty about its scrambled eggs! Try the salmorejo (a thick gazpacho with grated ham) followed by a bonito (barely seared, delicate tuna).
Celso y Manolo
A contemporary tapas joint in Madrid’s Justicia area, Celso y Manolo has a neighbourhood vibe and a prodigious selection of delicious, creative dishes.
Champagneria Gala
Set on a narrow and quiet alley near Plaza del Sol, the bright dining room is lined with white-washed trellises, giving the illusion that you're dining on an outside patio of a Spanish villa on a sunny day.
Citra
The house specials are jacket artichoke soup; salmon slices with vanilla sauce; grilled wood pigeon with sheep cheese (idiazabal); and gnocchi and radish sauce. The most interesting thing is the way in which savoury is mixed with sweet...
Cluny
Just off the thronging Plaza Santa Ana, this understated tasca has put the spice in Spanish cuisine. Sample the edible flowers salad with mushrooms and vanilla dressing or the succulent and tasty Basque Kokotxas (hake steaks).
Dassa Bassa
This stylish, vaulted white-brick basement restaurant is popular with models, aspiring actors and general jet-setters.
Dilola
Best visited during the evening when it's less crowded, Dilola provides the ideal romantic setting for a no-fuss dinner date or intimate group dinner. The nouvelle Italian cuisine includes olive oil and green pepper flavoured sorbet.
Don Pelayo
Both the décor and the dishes on the menu deceptively make this restaurant appear run-of-the-mill. But Don Pelayo's secret is the twist it gives to Spanish classics: potato croquettes combined with cocido broth, for example.
El Chaflan
Most famous for its cheese board, this restaurant's nondescript location belies its excellence. A large, double-glazed window allows diners to see exactly what goes on in the kitchen - fascinating, albeit distractingly so.
El Estragon
Bienvenido Alarcón is head chef at El Estragon Vegetariano (Vegetarian Tarragon), where paella is cooked to perfection without meat or fish, using white couscous or basmati, organic or integral rice.
El Jardin Secreto
El Paraguas
A highly regarded restaurant with real Asturian cuisine, and a touch of French too, in the exquisite Salamanca district.  
Entre Suspiro Y Suspiro
The menu offers expertly prepared fish dishes such as salted cod (bacalhao) or grouper (mero) as well as seasonal mushroom dishes and spicy tiger prawns. Try the house vuelve a la vida (back to life) which mixes all of the above in chilli sauce.
Entre Tapas Y Vinos
Modern minimalist interiors and seating arrangements encourage a quick meal. The lunch and dinner menus consist of combination tapas, toasted baguettes and more substantial fish and meat dishes.
Europa Decó
It doesn't get much more exotic than this: African masks on the walls, totem poles from Papua New Guinea, table mats and plush seats upholstered with Vicuna skin resembling a smooth crocodile texture. Fish is definitely the speciality.
Finos y Finas
The food at Finos y Finas is delicious and fabulously presented, though the décor is a little too clinical. Frequented by people in the know.
Hakkasan
Home Burger Bar
Hamburgers? In Madrid? Surely not. Unlikely though it may seem, this American diner-style restaurant is the most popular kid on the block, with the whole of Madrid flocking to sample its perfectly crisp chips and all-organic burgers.
Indochina
Mixing recipes from Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia, dishes include house specials, oxtail stew with bitter hot sauce, Thai noodle pasta with almonds and shrimp, and green Papaya salad drizzled with cashew sauce.
Iroco
There's nothing particularly marking out this restaurant from the rest; nonetheless, it has become the place to be seen, and is therefore popular.
Jellyfish
In an area already buzzing with fashion-friendly bars and restaurants, it takes something special to make its mark on the Chueca scene. With quirky decor, a sound menu and great weekend party, Jellyfish Cafe has certainly succeeded.
Kabuki
Kabuki is where Japanese and Mediterranean culinary traditions come together with come seriously exciting Spanish styled sushi…
Kikuyu
This chic contemporary restaurant located on the edge of the Chueca uses atmospheric candles, good background music and a delightful small, private garden to woo its fashionable clients. Make sure to book at weekends.
Korgui
A lovely lunch spot by day; in the evening, the cocktail bar comes into its own. Outside on a private terrace with chic black awnings and chRome metal chairs, they serve medium-sized pincho dishes, fusing Mediterranean, Mexican and Japanese tapas.
La Broche
A disciple of Ferran Adrià, Arola is one of Madrid's few chefs to elevate the restaurant business to the status of creative art. Two Michelin-starred La Broche will leave your senses heightened, particularly with its 10-dish taster menu.
La Chantarella
Inventive combinations such as couscous with foie gras or a surprising egg dish cooked with Emmental cheese make this one of the city's favourite eateries.
La Finca de Susana
With a wonderfully cheap lunch menu, speedy service and elegant surroundings, the team behind La Finca de Susana have hit on a winning formula. Unsurprisingly, the atmosphere is buzzing - and a short wait for a table is common.
La Isla del Tesoro
Vegetarian house specials such as boletus mushroom raviolis or mojito sorbet are not to be missed. An amole wine list includes many organic labels and some surprising gems, such as a 2000 Barranc dels Closos from Priorat.
La Mordida
Stuffed with trinkets harking to Mexico at La Mordida, the chef's collection of street fighting masks sit proudly on display along the downstairs stairwell. Traditional cocktails are prepared by expert waitresses and food is very reasonably priced.
La Musa
The first of Madrid's restaurants to make bare, red-brick decor a vanguard fashion statement, replacing the wine tavern classics. Try the charcoal-flavoured partridge with crispy pig's ears.
La Piazzetta
La Piazetta and La Dolce Piazetta are two new top-notch Italian eateries situated amidst the perennial buzz of the Plaza Chueca. One is a smart restaurant; the other caters to the sweet tooth.
La Tasquita de Enfrente
Chef Juanjo López’s La Tasquita de Enfrente is a popular restaurant in the Malasaña district offering contemporary Spanish cuisine.
La Viuda Blanca
The vibe here is relaxed; informal waitresses crack jokes whilst still providing a punctual service. A light lunch menu offers three courses of small dishes such as breadfruit stuffed with goats' cheese.

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